Ghana becomes recipient of historic first shipment of COVAX vaccine

Ghana COVAX vaccineAfter a year of disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 80,700 Ghanaians getting infected with the virus and over 580 lost lives, the path to recovery for the people of Ghana can finally begin.

This is a momentous occasion, as the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines into Ghana is critical in bringing the pandemic to an end. The only way out of this crisis is to ensure that vaccinations are available for all.

These 600,000 COVAX vaccines are part of an initial tranche of deliveries of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine licensed to the Serum Institute of India, which represents part of the first wave of COVID vaccines headed to several low and middle-income countries.

Ghana COVAX vaccine
Airport staff unloads carton boxes containing COVID-19 vaccines at the Mumbai airport in Maharashtra, India on Wednesday, 24 February 2021.

The shipments also represent the beginning of what should be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history. The COVAX Facility plans to deliver close to 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines this year. This is an unprecedented global effort to make sure all citizens have access to vaccines.

Ghana COVAX vaccine
On 24 February 2021, an employee works on the production line of a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer for the COVAX facility in Pune, a city located in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

Ghana which has a population of over 30m has become the first country to receive the COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility. The West African country was chosen as the first recipient of the free vaccines after promising quick distribution and meeting the criteria set by Covax. Further deliveries are expected to neighbouring Ivory Coast later this week, the Covax alliance says.

Vaccinations are expected to start in Ghana next week, and, as well as health workers, those over 60, people with underlying health conditions, and senior officials are due to be prioritised.
COVAX vaccine
On 24 February 2021, UNICEF’s Supply & Logistics Specialist Arthur Uche Osuji, left, talks to UNICEF Representative in Ghana Anne-Claire Dufay at the arrival of the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the COVAX Facility arrives at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana’s capital.

The vaccines delivered to Accra were produced by the Serum Institute of India and developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its roll-out in Ghana is not part of a trial.

The doses being sent to lower-income countries such as Ghana are funded by donations. The Government of Ghana – especially the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, and Ministry of Information – played a relentless role in this delivery to protect the population.

COVAX vaccine
On 24 February 2021, in Accra, Ghana, UNICEF staff examine a box containing the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the COVAX Facility.

As part of the UN Country Team in Ghana, UNICEF and WHO reiterate their commitment to support the vaccination campaign and contain the spread of the virus, in close cooperation with all partners, including Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Covax partners also are supporting local authorities in areas such as training people to administer the jabs and helping provide an adequate cold-chain storage and delivery system.

COVAX vaccine
On 24 February 2021, in Accra, Ghana, UNICEF staff display boxes containing the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the COVAX Facility.

Vaccines save lives. As health workers and other front-line staff are vaccinated, we will be able to gradually see a return to normalcy, including better access to health, education, and protection services. In the spirit of Universal Health Coverage, let’s leave no one behind.


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